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1 Timothy 3:1-2

Context
Qualifications for Overseers and Deacons

3:1 This saying 1  is trustworthy: “If someone aspires to the office of overseer, 2  he desires a good work.” 3:2 The overseer 3  then must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, 4  temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, an able teacher,

1 tn Grk “the saying,” referring to the following citation (see 1 Tim 1:15; 4:9; 2 Tim 2:11; Titus 3:8 for other occurrences of this phrase).

2 tn Grk “aspires to oversight.”

3 tn Or “bishop.”

sn Although some see the article with overseer as indicating a single leader at the top of the ecclesiastical structure (thus taking the article as monadic), this is hardly necessary. It is naturally taken generically (referring to the class of leaders known as overseers) and, in fact, finds precedent in 2:11-12 (“a woman,” “a man”), 2:15 (“she”). Paul almost casually changes between singular and plural in both chapters.

4 tn Or “a man married only once,” “devoted solely to his wife” (see 1 Tim 3:12; 5:9; Titus 1:6). The meaning of this phrase is disputed. It is frequently understood to refer to the marital status of the church leader, excluding from leadership those who are (1) unmarried, (2) polygamous, (3) divorced, or (4) remarried after being widowed. A different interpretation is reflected in the NEB’s translation “faithful to his one wife.”



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